Fugitive Dust Emissions

17 Aug 2020, by Tim Hibbard Share :

By Tiffany Floyd, Air Quality Division Administrator, Idaho DEQ

Over the past several months, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has seen an increase in public concern regarding fugitive dust emissions. 

Fugitive dust emissions are regulated under the “Rules for Control of Air Pollution in Idaho” (IDAPA 58.01.01).  These dust emissions are particulate matter that becomes airborne from activities such as moving dirt at construction sites, demolition activities, and traffic on unpaved surfaces.

Under certain conditions, fugitive dust emissions can impact public health, especially dust particles less than ten micrometers in diameter. Due to their small size, these particulates can get deep into your lungs and contribute to respiratory illness, lung damage, and even premature death in sensitive individuals.

There are several ways to prevent and control these emissions, and DEQ works closely with local officials and business owners to address these matters.

Preventing Fugitive Dust Emissions

  • Plan ahead by developing a dust prevention and control plan.
  • Minimize the surface area disturbed. The less ground disturbed, the less dust raised.
  • Take extra precautions on windy days such as waiting until winds calm.
  • Clean up track out dirt immediately.
  • Water and sweep roadways often.
  • Keep speed limits below 15 miles per hour on unpaved surfaces.
  • Rinse vehicles before they leave the property and cover loads.
  • Keep storage piles physically covered when not in use or use a dust suppressant spray to help reduce fugitive dust emissions.

Controlling Fugitive Dust Emissions

  • Use dust suppression measures such as water or suppression chemicals when needed.
  • Use storage silos, three-sided bunkers, open-ended buildings, or wind fencing to enclose handling areas.
  • Grow vegetative ground cover to hold the soil in place.
  • Use wind erosion controls such as bushes, trees, wood or rock walls, earthen banks, or porous wind or snow fences to prevent wind erosion.

Contact your local DEQ regional office for further assistance or questions at www.deq.idaho.gov.

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